Dr.O: “The Church and Mental Illness: Are We Ready YET?”

Have you noticed that there is an increasing number of mentally ill people attending church. It also appears that many of them are not properly medicated,  either.  Some people  call it “demon possession” and others call it “the devil.” However, many of us really understand that these diseases are medical illnesses.  Approximately 80% of people with depression can be treated successfully.   What is our role in the Black church? Do we have the proper training or motivation to help those that are “screaming” for help? It appears that we ostracize those whom we don’t understand. Schizophrenia, Anxiety and Depression have a strong  foothold in many of our churches, therefore I ask, ” Are we ready yet?”

It is becoming more and more imperative that licensed clergy get trained in the basics.Oftentimes, we look over the obvious and attempt to sugar coat reality with prayer that may not be effective. What I mean by that is, “If a person is floridly psychotic-they most probably need medication management along with the prayer!” I sometimes feel like a fish out of water when I hear ministers say, “You don’t need no therapist-Just go to God.” This is their ignorant position until their church has a murder-suicide then they walk around, in fear, and scared to check their own mailbox.

I use to get offended when inappropriate remarks were made over the pulpit, now I don’t care anymore and relate it simply to ignorance. I have read my denomination’s position on mental illness and it certainly looks like something one of the  “Flintstones”  wrote. How many more suicides does your church have to have before YOU get trained?

The other assertion that has to be made in this post is, “Do we know our real limitations?”  I have been in several churches were the Pastor is almost like a GOD!  Besides this being “idolatry” it is foolish. Nobody knows everything. Mental Health looks like a simple phenomena of “life experiences,” however it is based in more complicated theory than many people actually realize.  Just think how complicated your life is at times.WOW!

Church leaders we have got to do better. First, Pastors many of you need Psychotherapy and or Medication Management to deal with your own  stuff.  Secondly, stop placing people in positions that are your flunkies. Choose leaders that have their own mind. Don’t be afraid to be challenged and or “outed.” No I am not angry, I am just tired of the foolishness. How many church people do you know that no longer go to church anywhere?   I now understand why!

 I would like to hear your perspective on this  “HOT” topic. Does your church have qualified persons in place for counseling? Do you know anyone, at your church,who might be mentally ill? Is the lady , who sits next to you at church,  depressed? Does the man, ushering on the door,  have anxiety attacks? Do you think that your Former Pastor was an alcoholic?  Any Evidence?  Dr.O wants to know the answers to the above questions from you……..

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